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September 7, 2021

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Safe standing

Safe standing at football could be introduced this season

The House of Commons Library has released a paper, which looks at what has been said about introducing “safe standing” at football grounds in the English Premier League and Championship.

Current position

From August 1994, under the Football Spectators Act 1989 (as amended), clubs in the English Premier League and Championship have been required to provide all-seated accommodation. This followed Lord Justice Taylor’s report into the Hillsborough disaster of April 1989.

The 1989 Act applies to England and Wales.

A change to the current position would require the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to direct the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), through secondary legislation, to allow safe standing in specified areas of grounds.

 Calls for change

The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) has been campaigning for the introduction of safe standing. In 2018, the English Football League and the FSA ran a “Stand Up For Choice” survey. The majority (94%) of respondents believed they should be able to choose whether to sit or stand at EFL matches.

What has the Government said?

The Conservative Party Manifesto for the 2019 General Election included a commitment to “work with fans and clubs towards introducing safe standing”.

On 29 August 2021, the BBC reported that the Government was planning to lift the ban on standing and that various grounds in the Premier League and Championship would be able to use safe standing areas before the end of the current season.

SHP first reported that safe standing could be coming to the Premier League, in 2017.

The standing at football paper is available in full here.

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